Tag Archives: impeachment


Prosecutorial discretion can be a complicated thing. It can get really complicated when the suspect is a person by the name of Donald Trump.

In the wake of Trump’s Impeachment trial, state and federal prosecutors are now in the spotlight. They need to weigh all kinds of factors, including the nature and gravity of the offenses, and various policy considerations. Prosecutors decide whether charges should be filed and what particular charges should be included. Once charges are filed, there are myriad discretionary decisions that will be made about how to conduct the case.

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Today, the Senate failed to convict him of the Impeachment charge, but Donald Trump is still suspected of committing a wide range of criminal offenses, from Tax Fraud, to Conspiracy to Interfere with an Election, to Seditious Conspiracy Against the United States, and even aiding and abetting the Murder of a Capitol Hill police officer. So he is still subject to criminal prosecution in the courts, and the crimes themselves are about as serious as serious gets.

Mitigating circumstances? It is hard to imagine that Donald Trump, rich, powerful, Commander-in-Chief, had any mitigating excuses for these crimes that are under investigation.

How about policy considerations. This is where it gets really complicated. At first glance, that is. Prosecutors have the simultaneous duties to enforce the criminal laws and see that justice is done. But they have the inherent discretion to take other factors into account. So, when Donald Trump is the potential criminal defendant, the policy factors they need to take into account have national and international significance. On the one hand, they might worry that trying Donald Trump for serious crimes could cause a violent backlash. They might conclude that prosecuting him would somehow lead to more human suffering than it would prevent.

On the other hand, they must consider what effect it would have if Trump were never held accountable, what would that do to our principle that no one is above the law. How would such impunity affect our democracy, how might it embolden other would-be tyrants? How would it influence the opinions or actions of other nations? If Trump is able to escape justice through his personal status or his connections, could it have possibly devastating effects on our nation’s morale? Our country is already suffering from inequalities based on race, religion, gender, and other social factors.

If Trump evades prosecution and punishment, will he not continue to pose a threat to our democratic political system, and to our national security? Those are concerns which the House Impeachment Managers emphasized zealously.

Can Donald Trump get a fair trial in the criminal courts? That is a policy question that has to be looked at as well. But the Courts provide due process, including procedures for selecting an appropriate venue and a fair jury. He will enjoy all the constitutional rights of any criminal defendant.

Finally, prosecutors can and should consider humanitarian factors. Has the suspect already suffered enough? Is he remorseful, has he demonstrated that he is motivated to atone for his crimes, to repay society for the harm he has done? Is he using his words, actions, or resources to make the world a better, safer place? Did he appear at his Impeachment trial and admit what he had done and show that he has learned from his mistakes? Were there ever questions that deserved a more resounding “No” than these crucial questions in the context of Donald Trump’s behavior?

Prosecutors will have to make their own discretionary choices. We hope that they will exercise their authority wisely. It is not easy being a prosecutor and figuring out what is the right thing to do, in every case. I don’t envy them dealing with the pressure of having to sort out all the positives and negatives of prosecuting Donald Trump. But I think we will see them do the right thing. I think we will see some degree of justice achieved. That is an achievement that all rational Americans should desire and support. And rational thinking is what this country needs right now, more than anything, from all its citizens.


“I hardly know the lady.”
“Sir, she’s your wife, she’s the First Lady of the United States because she’s married to you.”
“Can you prove that ridiculous allegation? I don’t see any evidence.”
“Mr. President, you’ve been married to Melania for many years. You have a child together. She’s traveled all over the world with you.”
“You see, this is exactly what I’m talking about. You liberal media guys are just mouthpieces for the Democrats.”
“Mr. President, I’m with The National Review.
“Yeah? Well I don’t like smart alecks. Sit down and shut up or I’ll take your White House press pass away. You there, with the big cross and the NRA cap. What’s your question?”
“Mr. President, I interviewed you and Mrs. Trump just last month. My paper gave your campaign a big check and a special commemorative assault rifle. When Mrs. Trump said she’s afraid of guns you pulled the trigger just to show her it wasn’t loaded. The problem is, Mr. President, now you say you barely know her and, uh, it kinda, you know, makes my paper look bad.”

File:President Trump Delivers Remarks Upon Departure 2019-09-22.webm

“What the—”
“Mr. President, are you trying to distance yourself from Mrs. Trump because of—”
“I didn’t call on you, you’re very rude and out of—”

“—because of her statement today that she’s worried about you, that you’ve been talking Russian in your sleep and—”

“Security, I want that woman removed from this—”

“—and that you’ve been choking your pillow and calling out Rudy Giuliani’s name?”

“I don’t know that Giuliani guy. I think I saw him once at one of my country clubs, he was trespassing and double bogeyed the tenth hole.”
“Sir, over here Sir. In 2016 you said you would jump off your penthouse balcony if Melania asked you to, that’s how much you love and depend on her.”
“I never said that. Melania who?”
“Nice try, Mr. President. Every network has news footage of you saying that, Sir, and giving her a big sloppy kiss right afterwards.”
“It’s fake. They used computer tricks.”
“Mr. Trump, the whole world is watching this news conference as we speak. Do you realize that you are destroying any shred of credibility that you might still have had left?”
“That’s right, Mr. Trump, you can’t deny what the whole world sees and hears and what these cameras preserve for the record.”
“You guys think you’re so smart. Well how do I know that this is really me talking? How do I know that some Democratic conspiracy hasn’t built a fake me and put him up here at this podium to say things that make no sense? Maybe this whole room is a fake. Maybe all of you are hoaxes. Maybe you’re all holograms. Maybe the whole government is a hologram. Which means I’m a hologram. Which means I’m not the me that said that I’m me because I’m the me that someone else said was me before they realized that I’m a lot smarter me than that other me and I’m also twice as rich as that other me, and a hell of a lot better looking or why else would all those magazines and TV shows keep flashing my picture everywhere and why else would all those sexy broads keep flirting with me and make me do things that only a hologram could do and maybe I should ask for a better hologram, one with better hair, although really my hair is perfect, it was a perfect haircut, it was a beautiful haircut, there was nothing wrong with that haircut, there was no quid pro quo for any kind of investigation into anyone else’s haircut. Speaking of investigations, did you ever notice that it begins with the word ‘invest’? If they didn’t want rich people to own investigations and make money from them, they should have called them something else. Am I right? Any suggestions? Why do I see holograms wearing D.C. Department of Mental Health uniforms? Why are they coming towards me and smiling like Newt Gingrich? Why is Mike Pence coming towards me. Did you ever see a hologram with such a ridiculous smile?”